by Dennis Dalman
(This is Part 3 of a three-part series. Part 1 was published Jan. 2, and Part 2 was published Jan. 9.)
“Music in the Park” features several bands that make Pinecone Central Park a musical and arts venue as well as an athletic complex. A summer feature called “Movies in the Park” is also added to the schedule. Among the bands that perform are Belle Amour and Ring of Kerry.
A commemorative print in honor of the Sartell paper mill and its generations of employees is commissioned from Iowa artist J.D. Speltz. The limited-edition print (only 300 produced) was commissioned by Engine Company 844 Retired Sartell Firefighters’ organization. The print depicts an idyllic river scene with the paper plant in the background. The plant was closed permanently after an explosion and fire in 2012 rendered it unusable.
The Fabulous Armadillos, a popular area band, is the featured entertainment at the annul Rock ‘n’ Block Party sponsored by the Sartell Area Chamber of Commerce. The event on a big lot in south Sartell included kiddie inflatables, lots of food-vending booths and other musical acts.
On Aug. 6, a fire once again erupts at the Verso paper plant while under demolition. Sparks from a torch apparently ignited coal dust in a coal chute on the south side of the tall structure. Local fire departments managed to contain and stop the fire. It was the second fire since demolition began.
The Sartell Muskies baseball team once again heads to the state playoffs in the Class C State Amateur Baseball Championship. It is the third year in a row, the team, with Randy Beckstrom’s coaching, makes it to the state.
A “Back to School 5k Run” event at the Sartell Middle School raises funds for the Sartell-St. Stephen School District’s Early-Childhood Center. The event was co-sponsored by PineCone Vision Center and Dentistry for Children.
Sartell students once again outperform their statewide peers in the American College Testing tests. The students tested in reading, English, math and science and came out ahead of average state and national scores.
A search for a missing Sartell young man ends tragically when his body is found in the lot of a business in Moorhead. Thomas Gregory Bearson, 18, was the son of Deb and Greg Bearson of Sartell. He was a student at North Dakota State University when he went missing Sept. 21. After a massive manhunt, his body was found, and it was determined his death was the result of “homicidal violence.” Bearson’s death caused shock and grief in all those who knew the personable student, who had been an outstanding basketball player during his years at Sartell High School. The investigation into the death continues.
Friends, family and students mourn the loss of Thomas Gregory Bearson (see above) during a ceremony at St. Francis Catholic Church in Sartell.
Conrad Legatt of St. Stephen is named “Beekeeper of the Year” by the Minnesota Honey Producers’ Association. While in high school, Legatt wrote a term paper about honey bees, then forgot all about them until years later when thumbing through a catalog he noticed bee-keeping supplies. Forty years later, he is still an avid beekeeper.
A grand jury indicts Demetrius Anthony McGinnis, 23, for first-degree murder in the death of a young man outside of the Sprint store in Sartell on March 21. The motive for the crime is not yet determined.
The Abounding Joy congregation breaks ground in Sartell for its new church.
A sidewalk plan is approved by the city council for 2nd Street S. The sidewalk, long a priority, will be constructed on the south side of the road, from 4th Avenue S. by the police department to Pinecone Road.
Perfect weather blesses the annual St. Stephen Catholic Parish Festival and attracts a huge turn-out for food, music and fun.
Students in Sartell perform well above average on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment Test – in some categories – scoring 25 percent better than their statewide peers.
The city council approves a matching amount of $100,000 for a Mighty Ducks grant, with another $100,000 to come from Bernick’s Arena, which will benefit from the grant and matching funds if it is granted. The arena needs the money for updates and repairs. The city’s share of the money would come from half-cent sales tax revenue.
The annual Cook Out With Cops is a huge success, with almost 250 senior citizens enjoying lunch and guest speakers. The event is sponsored by the Sartell Police Department.
Sartell students create a “pillar of art,” a mosaic work for one of the pillars in front of Sartell High School. The art-work project is part of the Art in Motion program.
Nathan Gray of Sartell took a DisneyWorld cruise to the Bahamas for his seventh birthday. Nathan, who is in remission from cancer, chose the trip when he was granted his wish from the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
The Sartell Fire Department hosts its annual open house for the public, along with representation from the Sartell Police Department.
Sartell is widely praised for its Safe Routes to School planning and implementations.
The Sartell Sabres’ girls soccer team competes at state. Their coach, Cassandra Raehsler is named Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year.
Sartell junior Gopi Ramanathan achieves a perfect score on his ACT test, a rare achievement with only 1,407 getting a top composite score out of the 1.85 million students who took the test nationwide.
A Fields of Faith event takes place at the Sartell High School football field, and young people enjoy music and inspirational guest speakers. The event was sponsored by the Sartell chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
In the Nov. 4 election, the local winners are Sarah Jane Nicoll, who ran unopposed for Sartell mayor; council members David Peterson, incumbent; and Pat Lynch, a former council member. In the school board election, the winners are incumbents Mary E. McCabe and Michelle Meyer and new member Patrick Marushin. Those three were running unopposed. Sartell Mayor Joe Perske loses his bid for the Sixth Congressional U.S. House seat to Republican Tom Emmer.
All six area cities, including Sartell, approved an extension of the half-cent sales tax to 2018.
The Sartell Sabres Football team went to the state tournament, facing Simley High School from Inver Grove Heights on Nov. 8 at Husky Stadium. While the Sabres lost their first game 20-44, they ended their regular season at 9-1 overall, with a record of 7-0 in the Central Lakes.
An early blizzard Nov. 10 blasts into the area with ferocity, forcing school closings and more or less bringing life to a standstill.
Sartell Middle School hosts it annual Tribute to Veterans with a luncheon for veterans and a musical tribute in the gymnasium with guest speakers.
The Sartell Sabre girls’ swim team takes second place in the Class A tournament at the Minnesota Aquatics Center in the Twin Cities
The Sartell paper-mill’s baby-blue condensation tower, long an iconic site in the city, comes tumbling down Nov. 13. The tall tower’s demise is just one part of an extensive demolition and recycling project at the plant’s site.
Gas prices drop in the Sartell area to as low as $2.49 per gallon, a downward trend that began when the price of oil fell to as low as $40 a barrel on world markets. People with a little extra money in their pockets are hoping the trend continues.
The city council decides to retain twice-a-month council meetings except for the months of June, July, August and December, although additional meetings in those months may be called if the council has too much on its agenda.
Aiden Hammond, 14, of Sartell, will become a People to People ambassador to Australia next summer. Meantime, he and his family have been raising funds for his long trip. He is an eighth-grader at Sartell Middle School.
The city council is considering the possibility of allowing just one garbage hauler to do business in the city, rather than the current four. Sauk Rapids switched to a one-hauler option about two years ago, and everybody is happy with it, according to Ross Olson, Sauk Rapids city administrator, who spoke about the issue at a Sartell City Council meeting.
Visitors in the frosty night air take a trip with Ebenezer Scrooge and the Christmas ghosts at the Waters church in Sartell. The outdoor production took place in one-room structures along a trail in the woods. The purpose of the dramatic production was to highlight the true meaning of kindness and Christmas.
The city council approves a budget of $6.2 million for 2015, an increase of 7.6 percent. The tax levy will be $5.1 million. The tax rate will increase by 2.8 percent from this year’s amount.
Outgoing Sartell Mayor Joe Perske urges the newly constituted city council in 2015 to push for a community center so one can be created hopefully by the end of 2016. A center has long been on the high-priorities list of residents. It would be paid for by revenue from the half-cent sales tax.